In an earlier blog post, I interviewed Dan Dubeau about the Ottawa Administrators for Volunteer Resources (OAVR). In this last post, I discuss some of Dan’s views on how to cultivate a meaningful exchange between volunteers and the organizations they serve and some of the initiatives that Dan has spearheaded in his day job including the upcoming Community Cup.
In our discussion Dan talked about the important role of volunteers to an organization. In particular, he noted that finding a good fit for volunteers is important because they will ultimately be doing some of the marketing for the organization where they volunteer. Volunteers are looking for a two-way street where they can reap some benefits as well as giving back to the organization. He said that there is so much to appreciate in volunteers including their giving of their time, energy and knowledge.
As an organization, Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI) treats volunteer intakes like a job interview – treating each person as a unique contributor to the organization. Part of the exploration of volunteer activities is to find out what someone is looking for and where they seem themselves in five years. If a match can’t be found, a referral can be made. CCI aims to serve volunteers by helping them build their networks and helping them build their professional development skills through speakers and training at regular meetings. If he had the chance ask something of a volunteer he would ask them to be flexible, to communicate their needs, and not just sit back because they are not sure what to do – volunteers are an investment in time (including training) so retention is key.
Dan also spoke about two specific projects he has worked on in his capacity as a manager of volunteers.
He spoke about spearheading Renaissance 50+ specifically to engage the baby boomers in volunteering. Through his work at the CCI, he developed a guide for social service agencies who want to recruit boomers as volunteers. In general, boomers have lots to offer an organization because they tend to be well educated and experienced. In return, they want project based work which will show some impacts right away.
Lastly, Dan spoke about gearing up for the Community Cup, a soccer tournament which will happen in Ottawa at the end of this month. This event is to integrate newcomers though sport and volunteerism. The day’s events will include a citizenship ceremony. This event has grown from an Ottawa only event to an event hosted in eight cities. Mark your calendars, the annual soccer tournament will happen on June 28th this year.